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Phoebus High School dedicates the Marcellus Spencer “Boo” Williams, Jr. gymnasium

The gymnasium at Phoebus High School (PHS) was dedicated on June 29, 2023, as the Boo Williams gymnasium in honor of Marcellus Spencer “Boo” Williams, Jr.

Outgoing Phoebus executive principal Dr. James T. Harris gave welcoming remarks followed by outgoing superintendent Dr. Jeffery Smith, Phoebus boys basketball head coach James Daniel, Phoebus girls basketball head coach Antoinette Hunt, and Bethel High School outgoing executive principal Ralph Saunders. Phoebus High School athletic director made the presentation and incoming Phoebus executive principal David Coccoli provided a few comments. Honoree Marcellus “Boo” Williams, Jr. also shared remarks.

A basketball star at PHS and a 1977 graduate, Williams left for Philadelphia to become a college standout at Saint Joseph’s University. After playing professional basketball in Europe, he returned to Hampton to work as an insurance agent. Inspired by a Philadelphia youth basketball league, in 1982 he created the Boo Williams Summer League with only $400 and 46 players. The league, now known as the Boo Williams Nike Invitational, has grown to more than 200 teams and more than 2,000 male and female participants from across the country. Over the years his teams have won multiple national Amateur Athletic Union Championships and many players have gone into the college, Olympic, and professional ranks.

Envisioning a major youth sports facility for Hampton, Boo Williams in partnership with a group of investors and in conjunction with the city of Hampton, Virginia opened the Boo Williams Sportsplex. This 135,000-square-foot, 4,000-seat, $13.5 million facility with eight basketball courts, 12 volleyball courts, eight indoor hockey fields, and an indoor track opened its door on March 14, 2008, becoming the largest sportsplex between Washington D.C. and Greensboro, North Carolina.  

Operating what the Philadelphia Inquirer has called “the nation’s premier youth organization,” Williams has been the AAU chairman of Boys Basketball and a member of the USA/ABA Cadet Committee for Development of Future Olympians. A member of Saint Joseph’s Hall of Fame, Williams was the Walt Disney Wide World of Sports Volunteer of the Year in 2001, and a member of the inaugural class of the Hampton Roads Sports Hall of Fame. In 2013 the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame named Williams one of its three winners of the Mannie Jackson–Basketball’s Human Spirit Award.